Reducing energy use with couture fashions made from trash
Public artist and environmental educator Nancy Judd has been providing environmental education across the country since 1991, when she began her career in recycling and waste reduction. For the last 14 years, her business, Recycle Runway, has raised awareness about resource use and sustainability by creating couture fashion sculptures from trash and installing her art in high-traffic public locations. Her work has been sponsored by companies such as Delta Air Lines, Toyota, Coca-Cola, and Target, and one of her pieces was even accepted into the Smithsonian’s permanent collection in 2011. She also creates community-building eco-events in her Santa Fe community and across the country by giving hands-on workshops and presentations to youth and adult audiences about environmental issues.
“But I always wonder: Am I changing people’s actions?” Nancy asked herself.
Nancy’s TogetherGreen Project initiated conservation actions with the Santa Fe area in numerous ways and with various audiences. She worked with 120 Ortiz Middle School students, who received a 3 week long energy curriculum that taught them: how energy is created; where it comes from; the issues related to various energy sources; why energy conservation is important; and how to conserve electricity.
Staying true to her roots, Nancy created a new project, related to Recycle Runway, involving the use of garments made of waste items related to energy conservation that will document and celebrate the students’ actions. She engaged the 6th grade students’ creativity by having them help to create an energy superhero made from waste materials generated from energy efficiency projects such as building insulation, flashing, water pipe insulation, insulation fabric and tape. After much dedicated work by Nancy and her students, “Sol Man” was formed and will now be displayed in public bringing attention to energy conservation in various locations across Santa Fe.